The most difficult language to learn

I sat in the sauna with three Korean ladies this afternoon. Yeah, I regularly go to the community centre to work out and swim. (Good for my shoulder). I follow this up with a few minutes in the sauna, where I usually enjoy a good conversation with whomever I find there.

Today there were three Korean ladies in the sauna, having a lively conversation in Korean. I could not resist interrupting. This led to a lively exchange, mostly in English. After expressing appreciation for my Korean, they told me proudly that Korean was the most difficult language to learn.

I replied that if a person had Chinese or Japanese, Korean was not that difficult, and opined that with the right attitude, and a lot of listening and reading, no language was really out of reach. They refused to believe that, saying, in their less than perfect English, that they had been in Vancouver for 10 years and still struggled with English.

Moral(s) of the story.

1) If you think your own language is difficult, you will find other languages difficult.
2) I must get some water-proof LingQ name cards to hand out in the sauna

3 thoughts on “The most difficult language to learn

  1. I’d always thought the "my language is the hardest to learn" comment was an expression of personal/national pride. I’ve had it thrown at me about Spanish immediately after a compliment on how well I spoke. Interesting thought that it influences a language learners attitude toward foreign languages.Despite communicating well and understanding grammar in English, I’ve always had issues with spelling and vocabulary, which may have influenced some of my reluctance to believe I could successfully learn a foreign language when I was younger.Of course your native language factors in, but I think a large component of linguistic success also lies in personal strengths. I hate memorization, so languages with large vocabularies intimidate me (yes, English vocab too) and I’m having issues reaching higher levels of fluency in Spanish. I can recognize and repeat patterns and sound nuiances well though, so Mandarin hasn’t been too difficult.

  2. I think also happens the opposite. Maybe a language is famous for being easy to learn, so students sometimes are overconfident and, despite having communication, grammatically they???ve a lot of mistakes and they don???t even realize it.

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